Friday, June 25, 2021

Conversation With Vanisha Sukdeo About Her New Book; "Business Ethics and Legal Ethics: The Connections and Disconnections Between the Two Disciplines"


Business ethics and legal ethics occupy contiguous spaces that overlap, sometimes producing coherence and at other times dissonance.  Lawyers and business people each face a host of ethical responsibilities that are shaped by their professional relationships and the context n which their business is conducted.  For business that includes internal clients (e.g., employees, officers, board, shareholders), and external clients (customers, regulators, financial institutions, trade creditors, suppliers and the like). The web of lawyers' ethical duties extend to clients, the courts, their own regulators, and their role as gatekeepers and advisors to the nexus of client relationships (see my discussion of some of the issue sin the context of sustainability and corruption HERE).  

It is in that context that I was able to engage with a new book that is worth consideration by students of legal and business ethics: Vanisha H. Sukdeo,  Business Ethics and Legal Ethics: The Connections and Disconnections Between the Two Disciplines (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2020; ISBN 9780433506089). The publisher description nicely captures the essence of the book:

In the opening pages of her volume, Business Ethics and Legal Ethics: The Connections and Disconnections Between the Two Disciplines, academic Vanisha H. Sukdeo asks a pointed question: “From those who use their legal knowledge to help others such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, to those who choose to focus on the work for profit alone, there is great variety among lawyers and businesspersons when it comes to ethics and morals. Where does the definition of ‘ethics’ fit and how does it change shape from one discipline to another?”

Sukdeo devotes the rest of her text to a discussion of this question and in so doing aims to fill a gap in the literature between what is taught at business schools with respect to business ethics and what is taught in law schools about legal ethics. As she states, students enrolled in JD and MBA programs “should be able to appreciate the responsibilities and duties that they will have when they become business people and/or lawyers.” By providing an overview of the structure of ethics in both business and law, Sukdeo offers much-needed clarity on the intersection between the two disciplines.

I was then delighted that Vanisha accepted my invitation to talk about her book and ethics.  That conversation was broad ranging and provocative.  I hope you might find it of interest as well. The interview may be accessed directly HERE:  It may also be accessed through the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube Channel in the CPE Interview Series 2021 Playlist.

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